Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ghosts - Raina Telgemeier

Title: Ghosts
Author: Raina Telgemeir
Pages: 256
Published: 2016
Genre: Graphic Novels, Middle Grade
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I made the mistake of reading this after March, so I compared it to that book rather than judging the book on its own merit.  But trying not to compare it to March, which is so difficult to do, it was a really well told story.  I got freaked out during the course of reading the book, so I can see kids being freaked out with the content.  I liked the interaction between the sisters and could identify with trying to get your bearings in a community you don't really know.  I can only imagine how difficult it is for a teenager to adjust to a new town.  Highly recommended.

Bottom line: A really sweet story of trying to adjust in a new community and would recommend it for middle grade readers who have enjoyed Raina's previous works.

Rating: 4/5

March: Book Two - John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Title:  March: Book Two
Author: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Pages: 192
Published: 2015
Genre: Graphic Novels, History
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence - but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before.

Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the young activists of the movement struggle with internal conflicts as well. But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy... and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really liked this one as much as the first book in the series.  Liked how the authors incorporated the inauguration of Obama with past events.  While the book was fairly short, it felt longer due to the amount of information that was imparted to the reader.  Really get a front row to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.  Highly recommended.

Bottom line:  A really good sequel to the first book in the series. Would recommend the book to those that are interested in civil rights and some hope in a time in American history that seems less hopeful every day that passes.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Title: The Nest
Author: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Pages: 353
Published: 2016
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I enjoyed this book. While the main characters were not the most likeable people in the world, they certainly did add a flair to the novel.  I enjoyed how you saw various points of view through out the book.

Bottom line: A nice enjoyable read.  Like the family dynamic between the siblings and even the non-sibling characters

Rating: 3.75/5

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Dietland - Sarai Walker

Title: Dietland
Author: Sarai Walker
Pages: 272
Published: 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal copy

The diet revolution is here. And it’s armed.

Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.

Then, when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself falling down a rabbit hole and into an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. There Plum agrees to a series of challenges that force her to deal with her past, her doubts, and the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called “Jennifer” begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: At first I thought this would be an interesting read and it was an interesting read no doubt.  But as I read the book, I found the main character to be rather narcissistic at times and a bit immature.  And as the book wound on, I really didn't want to read it and just wanted to slap the main character silly.

Bottom Line:  I thought it was an okay read.  There were times I liked how the book was going but there were times that I really got mad at the main character and her behaviour.  If you are attracted to a sort of chick-lit book with a feminist bent.  Overall, it was okay and wouldn't recommend it for everybody.  Recommended.

Rating: 2.75/5

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

This is similar to another alphabet soup challenge I am involved with and it is pretty simple: read a book where the starting letter of the title corresponds with each letter of the alphabet, taking out A and The when you need to.

If you wish to join, there is more information here.

Alphabet Soup:
A -
B -
C -
D - Dietland by Sarai Walker
E -
F -
G - Ghosts by Rania Telgemeir
H -
I -
J -
K -
L -
M - March: Book Two by John Lewis
N - The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
O -
P -
Q -
R -
S -
T -
U -
V -
W -
X -
Y - You Will Not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris
Z -

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

I have tried to do this challenge but for some reason I have been unable to complete it.  It basically is reading classics that fit the various challenge areas.  If you want more information, you can find out more information here.

Here are the categories:
1.  A 19th Century Classic
2.  A 20th Century Classic
3.  A classic by a woman author

4.  A classic in translation
5.  A classic published before 1800
6.  A romance classic
7.  A Gothic or horror classic
8. A Classic with a number in the Title
9. A Classic about a animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title
10. A Classic set in a place you would like to visit
11.  An award-winning classic
12. A Russian Classic    

2017 Mount TBR Challenge

I have been meaning to do this challenge for a number of years, but for some reason I haven't gotten around to it.  I am going to do Pike's Peak, which I aim to read 12 of my own books that I have own prior to January 2017.

If you want more information, you can find it here.

Pike's Peak:
1. Dietland by Sarai Walker
2. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

2017 Library Love Challenge

I like this challenge because it is very simple: read at least 12 books from the library in any format (print, e-book, audiobook) from any genre that is available at the library. As long as you checked it out from the library, it counts.

If you want more information, you can view the information here.    I am going for Thrifty Reader.

Books Read:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Winter Stroll - Elin Hilderband

Title: Winter Stroll (Winter #2)
Author: Elin Hilderband
Pages: 263
Published: 2015
Genre: Christmas, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description:  Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflecting on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley, now single, at least is on better terms with his first wife Margaret, who is using her celebrity to lure customers to the inn in record numbers. Their son Kevin has a beautiful new baby, Genevieve, with the Inn's French housekeeper, Isabelle; and their daughter, Ava, is finally dating a nice guy--her devoted colleague, Scott.

Now the Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve's baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket's traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley's estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn's former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn't the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it's going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns--and the inn--through the holidays intact. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this one a little more than Winter Street, which I thought was a little too schmaltzy, especially on a second read.   I think what I liked about is that it came off as being a little more real than the first book in the series and felt a little more enjoyable.  I liked that it was a fairly light read on a day that I was recovering from the festivities of New Years and a fairly long day.

I liked that the book moved the story of the Quinn family nicely along and was a nice and fairly easy read for me.

Bottom Line: A fairly light read and would appeal to those who need something a little lighter to read during the holiday season.  Recommended.

Rating: 4/5
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